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Facsimile of 1945 Edition with a New Foreword by Marc Simmons
By Oliver La Farge

The Autobiographical Examination of an Artist’s Journey into Maturity including An Appreciation by John Pen La Farge.


The long, uneasy armistice between two world wars was a trying time for literary artists, particularly for those young men who came to maturity in that period of economic and social upheaval. Oliver La Farge’s frank and honest personal narrative is a typical life of one born into the easy world of Newport, New York, Groton, and Harvard, dumped into the melting pot of the Great Depression, and then slammed up against the global war. His purpose “to record the America of one individual” and to set down the raw material from which the writer derives the finished product he offers to the world, is vividly fulfilled in this book.

In an Appreciation appearing in this new edition, John Pen La Farge says: “In his autobiography, Raw Material, Father wrote a superior account of one man’s life. As Mother pointed out, it was superior because it was not a mere accounting of what, when, how, and in what order, rather, it was the account of how the raw material of one boy grew into a man, a man whose life both displayed and sought out true integrity.”

Born in 1901, Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge is ranked among the literary lions of Southwestern letters. Since he died in 1963, his reputation has continued to grow and new honors have been added to his name. Laughing Boy, a novel of Navajo life, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1930, putting his name in lights before he was 30.

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